Day 38: Shigatse, Tibet - 108 Days Across Eurasia by Martins Ate

So, after yesterday's biking till from Lhasa to Shigatse around 270 km and staying overnight in a hotel I feel better but my knees are still in pain. I decided to stay one more night in Shigatse and take a place in a jeep to drop me untill the border of Nepal as people are saying that the control closer to the Nepal border is more serious and that it won't be so easy to bypass them as I did it this time.

Secondly my legs don't feel so good to drive twice as much as I've driven until now in three days - as my Tibet permit expires. Yesterdays biking tour have touched me deeply. I never saw before such amazing views. Himalayan mountains are so beautiful. From one side mountains, fast river Yandze, then yellow crop fields surrounded by pink flowers - amazing beauty!

The air is rearified. That made my biking tour more harder than I was expecting. Sometimes I just stopped and was breathing heavily for few minutes. Sometimes I just could not move any further by bike and I walked for 10-15 minutes and then continued pushing the pedals. Checkpoints - that was a funny thing: first was right behind the Lhasa. They checked every car. And I was just driving in the middle of the road and bypassed everybody! There was a lot of! Maybe some 30 policeman...

Then from Lhasa until Quxu - where I stocked in last time - in between there was three more checkpoints which I did easily - just drew straight thru them without stopping or looking back. I think that bicycle is the best way to pass them - as it seems impossible that some foreign tourist would drive a bicycle in a rain in Tibet in the middle of nowhere.

After that started mountaineer are where it was very hard to go up the mountains. But ot was fun going down!:) I passed a lot of small country towns where dogs where barking and running on a road to bite me in legs.:) And after towns - so beautiful mountains!!! Amazing views!

The next checkpoint was only after around 50 km and it was closed one. The police saw me but did not said nothing - they just opened a barrier for me. And after that the bad road started. A lot of small towns and military camps. Everybody told me hello and I was wondering how do they know that I'm a tourist if I was masking and I passed so many checkpoints unnoticed but these people recognized me at once.

And in a late evening I arrived in Shigatse. This morning I waked up from somebody opened my doors and then closed them - I guess - housekeepers.

Afterwards I woke up, took a shower, washed my clothes and went to a local monastery - Shigatse Tashilshunpo monastery where the entrance fee for foreigners is 55 Yuans or about 5 EUR. Very beautiful and big with restrictions to make a photos and some forbidden areas.

Afterwards I contacted my tour guide and we decided to continue this journey in a legal way - tomorrow noon I'm taking a jeep to Nepal. Today - i will enjoy this city!:) and heal myself somehow...

I found out that I do like Tibetian music and art!!!:) I spent afternoon going to some temple which seemed like miniature of Potala palace in Lhasa. Later on I found out that this castle was founded by first Buddha to be something like a place where keep real Buddhism and with time Potala palace leave as a museum for Buddhism. It was about 6-7 centuries ago! Already by that time they new about Lhasa to become a place of tourist attraction! Unfortunately I did not saw any monks around this magnificent building. It was closed and guarded by one army guy.

Later on I continued my journey up the mountain behind this Shigatse Fort. I had a slippers so even if the mountain was not for professional mountain climbers - for me it was an action. I felt twice: once upwards and once on my way back down. Both times nothing special - just a little bit more blood on my already bloody legs.:)

Also I had to buy an oxygen balloon as my altitude sickness got worse and worse. Especially after 20 hour biking from 3200 to 3700 m without previous exercising I feel quite not so good... :)

At the altitude above 4000 m I meditated. I made a small hill from stones where each stone was assigned to some people I know. Parents, relatives, close friends, people I love and loved, people I know and people who helped me on my way till here where and people I met on my way.

Afterwards I chanted some prayers on behalf of them. It was good. I united in my soughts with them and united myself with the Highest. That is a living worth feeling! I think a few have got a prayer for him chanted at the altitude of 4000 meters in Himalaya mountains in front of building founded by first Buddha!:) Afterwards I got back down to the city and had some food.

Nobody speaks English in this city. So I'm speaking Latvian - my mother tong and they Chinese. Somehow I manage. Not so bad!:) the biggest problem is to get a vegetarian dish - as almost everything Chinese and Tibetan are making contains rather eggs ether some small and unnoticeable peaces of chicken or pork... In Tibet popular is a meat of a yak - local mountain cow. So sometimes must be cautious about even baked potatoes can be baked in a oil of yak meat.

Tomorrow about noon the jeep is coming from Lhasa to pick me up towards Nepal. This joy will cost me about 100 EUR. So I'm happy - even 100 EUR is at least 5 times cheaper than any offer of visiting Tibet. I would like to hitchhike - but it's to dangerous for my Chinese visa.

So tomorrow at noon I'm leaving towards Kathmandu, Nepal. Finally!!!:) I've spent already almost one month in China! That's too long!!!